I was extremely excited with my upcoming Girls Trip to Europe with Sari and anxious at the same time because Alyssa and I will be flying on our own. Alyssa was 3 years old and even though she has flown many times but this would be her longest flight and also the first time flying just the two of us. Our flight Jakarta to Istanbul is 12 hours and followed with 2.5 hours flight from Istanbul to Berlin and we had around 2.5 hour transit in Istanbul.
Here’s what I packed and prepared
Travel light Stroller
I borrowed Baby Zen Yoyo+ stroller from a friend so I could bring it to airline’s cabin because I need to have a stroller when we transited in Istanbul.
Baby zen yoyo+ stroller is perfect for traveling because it can be folded small to fit into airlines’ cabin and train compartment. It is easy to be folded and even easier to be opened. It has its weakness Vs a bigger stroller; because its lightweight, it is not sturdy enough when strolling in cobbled stone path. We also have to be careful not to lift the handle when we have to step into higher platform.
Only Pack what you can carry by yourself
Forget porter – they only exist in Indonesia and such service is non-existent in Europe. Except maybe if you hire a concierge service but they come at a cost and not every airport has such service. What I can carry by myself is one medium suitcase, toddler stroller and one hand carry which I can put on top of the suitcase or hang on the stroller. Packing only 1 medium suitcase for a 2 weeks trip in cold weather was definitely not easy but I didn’t have a choice because I only traveled with Sari and Alyssa.
I could only bring what I could carry because we would be traveling by trains moving from one city to another. We are travelling in fall so the weather would be colder than what we are used too. I put our coats and jackets in the hand-carry to save the hassle from having to open my suitcase when we landed.
Here’s Baby Zen Yoyo+ stroller and my hand-carry bag
Invest in Plane Pal
Plane Pal is a custom-designed inflatable cushion that fills the space between our seat with the seat in front. With Plane Pal Alyssa can sleep comfortably in flat position during the flight.
Bring Water Bottle, Food Container and her snack in the hand-carry
Airlines usually allow filled water bottle and milk when you are travelling with toddler. Airlinesusually also serve food for toddlers first but they may not be awake when the food is served. This is where food container come in handy; to store food served when they were sleeping. Snacks also become handy because you never know when you toddler will get hungry during the time zone changes when we fly.
Bring her Toys to play with
For Alyssa I brought her activity book, coloured pencils and her dolls so she can play with it when she’s bored.
Brief your toddler on Repeat about the trip
Briefing is very important so your toddler can expect what is going to happen and what she/he needs to to. Repeat it many times so it sticks her/his head.
We arrived in Cengkareng Airport two hours early and I started to worry as nearing boarding time Alyssa actually felt asleep in her stroller. Thank God I have briefed her many times prior to the trip so she remembered my briefing on what to do when boarding the plane. She woke up right away when I told her that we need to board and she walked by herself to the plane.
Turkish airlines crews were also family friendly. When the staff saw me traveling only with Alyssa, he gave me seats in the business class section waiting area and let Alyssa and I boarded first. The stewardess also gave Alyssa some toys. Alyssa was busy watching flight entertainment for the first one hour . Before she slept, I took her to the toilet. I also pumped the Plane Pal after our flight takes off so Alyssa could sleep flat on her seat.
Alyssa was still sleeping when breakfast was served so I put her food in a lock and lock jar so she could eat them later when she woke up.
In our Second leg we sat in a two row seat which was nicer even though it was on the back. On our flight back I chose the two row seat which turned out to be more convenient if we wanted to go to the toilet.
Alyssa was busy watching movies during our flight to Berlin. Landing in Berlin, we were directed straight to the immigration. Unfortunately I took the wrong queue at the EU lane causing me to have to queue again in the correct lane for other nationals. So be careful when choosing the lane. German people are very strict indeed – they have no merci even for parent with young children.
Coming out from immigration Sari has already been waiting. Her flight from Singapore landed much earlier. We took a direct bus (TXL Express Bus) from airport to Berlin Hbf (main train Station). Our Hotel was just across the train station. There was a ticket machine near the bus stop and there is an officer who was ready to help if we couldn’t use the machine. It was windy and cold (around 4 degree C) so we were glad that we had our winter jackets ready in our hand-carry bag.
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